ALBANY — Drinking among underage college students has been pinpointed by numerous academic and public agencies as a major problem. As a result, Arlene González-Sánchez, commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), today said federal grants totaling $100,000 will go to five statewide prevention providers to address the problem.
“The consequences of alcohol use on and around college campuses are serious and often life threatening,” González-Sánchez said. “Creating a change in the drinking culture on college campuses requires a coordinated and comprehensive approach. This funding will foster development of a college community coalition consisting of prevention professionals, college faculty, including public safety staff, community groups and law enforcement to prevent underage drinking among college students. Working together, we can best protect our future generations and help them achieve their greatest aspirations in life.”
OASAS and the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) will be presenting at the opening plenary of the New York Alcohol Policy Summit on October 6 in Syracuse. The summit is hosted by the New York Alcohol Policy Alliance in partnership with the New York State Public Health Association, and Council on Addictions of New York State.
SLA Commissioner Dennis Rosen said, “As the consequences of underage drinking are too often tragic, keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors is a priority for the State Liquor Authority. We will continue conducting these underage decoy operations across the state and irresponsible licensees will be held accountable when their actions threaten public health and safety.”
In August, the SLA conducted more than 200 targeted compliance checks in the largest sting operation in the agency’s history. It targeted specific convenience stores and neighborhoods found to have a high activity of selling to minors. The investigators sent underage volunteer decoys into 212 licensed groceries in all five New York City boroughs. In total, the decoys were able to purchase alcohol at 123 of the premises. In July, the SLA conducted a similar operation in Western New York, sending decoys to 124 grocery stores and charging 41 licensees with selling to a minor. These large scale decoy operations will continue throughout the state.
The funding was awarded to not-for-profit OASAS-funded prevention providers who partner with colleges and law enforcement agencies to enforce underage drinking laws and coordinate community responses to reduce and eliminate youth alcohol access. Each prevention provider will receive up to $20,000 over the next year.
The awardees are required to do at least one law enforcement activity and be required to submit a quarterly report indicating their activities and expenditures. Other allowable activities may include: sobriety checkpoints, party patrols, retail compliance checks, shoulder tap details, evaluation of college and university alcohol and drug policies, responsible beverage training programs, enhance or develop college/campus community coalitions, an educational component, and media advocacy efforts.
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